IRVINE, CA–The use of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs by major league baseball players has drawn threats from the United States government. Major league baseball had better institute strict drug policies, warned Senators John McCain and Byron Dorgan, or it will face Congressional action.

But the government should not be granted the power to dictate to consenting adults what they can and cannot ingest, stated Dr. Andrew Bernstein, senior writer for the Ayn Rand Institute. Major league baseball is a private organization that has the right, if it chooses, to ban steroid use among players by contractual agreement. As with any private individual or organization, it has the right to lay down the terms under which it will associate with others–leaving it to the voluntary decision of players to accept the terms or play elsewhere.

More broadly, Bernstein pointed out, in a free society an adult has the right to think and decide for himself in the pursuit of his own happiness. A necessary consequence is that he may choose self-destructive actions–whether to drink harmful amounts of alcohol or use toxic drugs. A legal prohibition on drugs, as on alcohol, is a violation of the right of the individual to determine the course of his life. Bernstein concluded that Congress should butt out and let Major league baseball determine its own course of action regarding players’ use of steroids.

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